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Reviewing the calamities of the war, we shall never forget that the seat of government, dignified by the name of our political Father, was reduced to ashes. Every one has pride enough to be mortified at the recollection of an affair attended with so much humiliation. We have it from high authority that nothing like to this had ever taken place before; when an army had entered an enemy's country and taken his capital. Without criminating or excusing, let the fact be stated as it was. In the fact as in a glass we see our own prostration,
We all know, who know any thing of public matters, what claims were set up by our government; and that the war was declared, and carried on, to maintain these claims; and we all know, who know thus much, that these claims were given up when the war concluded, and disappeared, as the light dies away when the candle burns out in the socket. Whether these claims were reasonable, or unreasonable, is not now made a question; but if they were reluctantly yielded, the sacrifice was great, on the part of those who claimed; and the triumph was great on the part of those who refused. Commercial and other privileges, which we had before the war, it must be granted we lost by the war; and if they should ever be restored, they could not be considered as conditions of the peace, for the treaty of peace contained no stipulation for their restoration.
Should you inquire how peace can be a blessing if all these things are true, I would refer you to the highest authority among us; I would beg you to ask the rulers of the nation, who know all these things to be true, why they regard peace as a blessing. Would they not tell you, that our independence is preserved; that our means, though diminished, are not all gone; and, that in a case of such extreme jeopardy as ours was, when every wave was a messenger of death, we ought to rejoice, if we can get safe to land; some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship.
If a peace with Algiers has been established, upon such terms as will free us, in future, from paying tribute to that piratical Power; and secure our countrymen from becoming captives in that land, where the barbarous people cast firebrands, arrows, and death, and say are we not in sport; it
is a matter which we ought to enter on the list of mercies, calling for gratitude at this time. It must be attributed to God, that our means at this day, have been equal to the conflict; for in former times, attempts made by the most formidable nations of Europe, against this nest of free booters have proved unsuccessful.
Our hearts must be very much depraved, if we do not rejoice in the general repose of Europe. Has there been any thing like the settled purpose, and the deliberate and harmonious movement of the nations at this time, to restore order where every thing was disjointed, and thrown back into chaos? Did not those conclude, who speculated upon passing events, taking what had been, as a rule to judge by of what was to be expected, that the confederacy, from mutual jealousy, would break up; that the bond of union would be a rope of sand; that the mountain in labor, would exhibit, at the most, but a puny production? But the result has been great and glorious; for the God of the armies of Israel was invoked, and the cause of a sinking world was put into his hands.
We are bound to condole with that nation in Europe which is suffering in consequence of the sentinels placed over her, and judged to be necessary, from the existing state of things. If this had been a favorite measure with the nations of the Confederacy, it would have been earlier adopted; if they had wished to humble and break down France, they would have left an army there in the first instance before an experiment had been made, to see how the people would manage for themselves. This nation, long engaged in war, and victorious, must contain many restless spirits, to whom no government would be acceptable; which should cherish peace, and endeavor to curb the turbulent passions of an unholy nature. These restless spirits are the disturbers, and to them must be attributed all the evils to which the community is subjected. Those who are engaged in the common occupations of life must bear their part of the burden; and though they bear it impatiently, they are probably convinced, that the general good requires the present order of things. This is the nation, we are to remember, which for a course of years, has presented the bitter cup to all
parts of the world, to which she could extend her arm. While we sympathize with her, we cannot forget the calamities which she brought upon Spain; Holland; and to say no more upon Europe generally. Let us consider her like a maniac who must be restrained to prevent his acts of violence upon others, and upon himself.
That military chieftain who has astonished the world, by his strides over it, and by his bloody thrusts upon it, has retired, a second time, to private life. May this arch seducer never again be seen in the bowers of paradise! May this hammer of the whole earth, never again be employed to dash in pieces the nations! May walls of water encompass the man whose ambition has been without bounds, until he shall know like the once haughty Nebuchadnezzar, that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will! Should his exile prove like the captivity of Manasseh; should his cogitations in his solitary situation, be like those of Saul of Tarsus in Arabia; we would traverse land and sea to be witnesses to the wonderous change; to hear him, who has been a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, declare himself the chief of sinners, and extol the grace of God, for opening his eyes upon a new world, and for pointing out for him a new employment. In present circumstances, let us be thankful, that he has become weak as other men; that the crown has fallen from his head, and the sceptre from his hand!
In the consideration of mercies, let us call to mind that the earth has been caused to yield her increase, so that all our real wants may find a supply. Many times have our expectations been far exceeded, and our melancholy forebodings have been as groundles, if not as wicked, as the language of the unbelieving Samaritan lord, in a time of famine; or as the language of the complaining Israelites, who said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? We have had experience enough to show us the importance of that scriptural direction, In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not the hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this, or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. If any from indolence, or distrust have left their fields untilled, that has been the conse
quence which should have been expected; briers and thorns have occupied the ground which should have been covered with valuable fruits. Where the duty of the husbandman has been properly performed, the blessing of heaven has in general, been abundant.
It would not become us upon this occasion, to pass by unnoticed, that tempest which has been sent upon some parts of our country, and by which such extensive damage has been effected. When we reflect upon those who suffered from the tempest, and upon those who escaped its ravages, we are led back for instruction to what our Savior said respecting the Galileans, whose blood was mingled with their sacrifices; and respecting those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and slew them. Is it because we have made an uncommonly religious use of this house of public worship, that its feeble frame was strengthened to resist the blast which prostrated the sanctuary of some other people? Is it because that our property has been more than ordinarily devoted to the service of God, that while the furious blast swept away much, if not all, from some, we were permitted to retain our possessions? Though our situation is high and airy, exposed to every wind that blows, we have no damage to complain of; we have sustained no loss, worthy of being mentioned.
It has been a favorite object with some, to have every thing produced in this country which is consumed by the people. The chief advocate for this scheme has spoken both for, and against it; and therefore we cannot tell in which scale to look for the preponderance of his wisdom, nor for the sum of his wishes.
The question is before the community for consideration; and arguments of weight are to be found on both sides. Did our population as much exceed our territory, as our territory exceeds our population, we should not be long in agreeing upon a verdict. Our manufacturing experiments have been so successful, and attended hitherto with so little evil, that we are, with propriety, called upon to mention this matter among the things which constitute our prosperity. As gradual changes in the habits of a people are not so dangerous as sudden alterations, for which no preparation
has been made; and as there are always in a community men fitted for one employment, and good for nothing in any thing beside; so the time may come, when a manufacturing interest established upon a broad scale among us, may not be injurious, but beneficial to the body of the
Commerce in our situation has been proved to be of vital importance. Before the war commerce was obstructed by the acts of our government, and after hostilities commenced and these acts were repealed, our shore fell into the custody of the fleets that blockaded it; so that in these times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the country. Now the scene is changed, Commerce has revived, and with it the nation is reviving. Our attention will soon be called to an account of the sums received into the treasury; and it will appear, that these sums are to a great amount. Whether or not it will be thought expedient, by the council managing for us, to lighten the burdens under which we stagger and complain, cannot now be determined; but it is certain were it not for the revenue arising from commerce, any petition for redress of grievances which might be presented, would be treated like the request of the Israelites to Rehoboam. Our expenses are very great, and they must be provided for in some way. Let us therefore take grateful notice of the goodness of God in prospering our business on the sea; since in present circumstances, we may calculate upon this business, if not as a source of wealth to this generation, yet as a help exceedingly needed in our case of difficulty.
Health we all consider as a very great blessing. Of sickness and death, we have a natural abhorrence. Though every year brings sickness and death with it, the past year has, perhaps, been as favorable in this respect as the average of years. We can recollect, when the pestilence which walketh in darkness, made wide havoc in our country; sweeping vast multitudes into eternity, and very sensibly thinning the population of our largest sea-port towns. Graves could not be dug for such a mass of putrid flesh; but the bodies were thrown into pits, made capacious for